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Fiji Saves From Free Open Heart Surgeries

Fiji Saves From Free Open Heart Surgeries
June 17
10:00 2017

Fiji has been saving close to $1million every year over the last 27 years following the Open Heart International’s free heart surgery initiative.

The team consisting of international doctors in partnership with the Ministry of Health has been providing free heart surgeries since 1990.

Open Heart International project coordinator, Melanie Windus said these surgeries would have cost the patients thousands of dollars, if they were to go overseas for treatment.

“If one is to have this surgery in Australia or New Zealand it would cost them around $40,000- $50,000 and to India it would cost around $12,000-$13,000,” she said.

The 35 patients consisting of 20 children and 15 adults were listed for this year.

Surgery started on Monday with the last to be operated on today.

And the OHI team is excited that they are going to operate on their 800th open heart surgery patient during this trip.

Ms Windus said she has an amazing group 35 volunteers.

“Early this week we have concentrated on the congenital problem with children who were born with something not quite right with their hearts,” Dr Windus said.

“She added: “During this trip we have been fortunate to operate on the 800th patient here in Fiji.

“The adult surgery that we are doing is for rheumatic heart patients who have problems with their heart valves and those that need to have their heart valves replaced.”

A total of 35 will benefit from the initiative that finishes today.

The Fiji programme is two-fold as apart from the free surgeries the visitors also conduct training sessions for the local surgeons.

The team had brought with them 3 tonnes of equipment which they used during the surgeries.

“We will take back 800 kilograms of this equipment while the rest will be donated to the Ministry of Health.”

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"I wouldn't want to miss this opportunity. I want to make sure that I am by her side when my first child is born."
Jasa Veremalua
Fiji Rugby 7s rep
June 2017
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